If you want true inner peace, say goodbye to these 9 expectations from society

Finding true inner peace isn’t easy. 

But it starts with letting go of expectations from society that are dragging you down and cutting off your authentic self. 

Empowerment starts with recognizing what you truly value in life and pursuing your own path to individuality. 

Here are the ten expectations from society that need to be dropped on the road to true self-development. 

Let’s dive in: 

1) There’s one correct way to lead a worthy life 

There’s good advice and bad advice. There are approaches to life that go well and others that lead to tragedy and heartbreak. 

But there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and there’s no one correct way to live life. 

Society, from the educational system to the corporate structure, often teaches something different:

It urges us to follow a linear career path, adopt the “correct” beliefs and be who we “should be.”

This is an expectation to drop. Instead, begin getting in touch with who you really are and who you want to become. Get in touch with what you truly value in life, not just what society values.

2) Success is primarily measured by wealth and status

Money matters, and career success can be an important metric of life satisfaction. 

But the widely-shared societal expectation to get rich or die trying is harmful. 

Because the dark truth is that most people die trying. And along the way their belief that wealth and status is the main purpose of life often leaves them feeling lonely and unfulfilled.

“Materialism is associated with lower levels of well-being, less pro-social interpersonal behavior, more ecologically destructive behavior, and worse academic outcomes,” notes psychologist Tim Kasser.  

Let’s be real:

The pervasive belief that true success is solely defined by financial wealth and high social status can lead individuals to prioritize material gains over personal happiness, relationships, and self-fulfillment.

And that’s far from healthy… 

This ties into the next point: 

3) The more productive you are the higher value you are

Productivity is great. The ability to put your ideas and inspirations into action is valuable and important. 

But productivity does not determine your value as a person, nor as an employee and team member. 

The notion that your value is determined by their productivity and output, often referred to as “hustle culture,” is a negative societal expectation. 

If you want to hustle, do it by all means. But don’t do it because society expects it or you are trying to live up to an ideal imposed by media, corporations and tastemakers. 

Hustling too hard can lead to burnout and neglect of mental health, leisure, and personal passions.

4) Happiness is a prize you win

Many modern societies treat happiness as two things: an ideal to be coveted and a prize. 

It is neither. 

Firstly, true happiness and fulfillment are much more about meaning and connection to ourselves and others than they are about any perfect ideal. 

Secondly, happiness isn’t something you “get” or “win.” It’s something you experience, share and partake in. 

Nobody feels pleasant all the time. That’s part of being genuine and honest with yourself. 

“Your mood can be thrown off by the weather, circadian rhythms, and other external factors, but you can pursue your passions, for example, which gives you the power to boost your long-term well-being,” advises Lauren Friedman.

The belief that a fulfilling life means being happy all the time can create unrealistic expectations and make normal fluctuations in mood and life circumstances seem like failures.

5) Make sure you’re in step with society 

The societal pressure to follow trends, support the newest “thing” and care about what you’re told to care about is overwhelming. 

But if you do that you betray yourself and can often end up distracted from what you actually want to focus on and achieve in life.

The fact is that in every aspect of life, from physical appearance to career achievements, chasing trends and keeping up with the Joneses can lead to chronic dissatisfaction and a fear of making mistakes.

Society is, among other things, a concept and an idea. It isn’t a physical reality like an apple. It’s millions of people coexisting and interacting in direct and indirect ways. 

You have no obligation to buy into its trends or follow what a man on TV tells you or eat the food others are eating. 

Live your own life!

6) Avoid failure and mistakes at all costs

Failure and setbacks are a natural part of life. 

The only person who never fails is the person who never tries!

But society continues to have many toxic messages around failure and mistakes, telling people that they need to stop being losers and failures. 

The fact is that a strong fear of failure can lead to avoiding risk so much that you end up abandoning your dreams. Much of what we learn and develop in ourselves comes out of failure and missteps.

“Failure leads to learning because we’re able to identify where we went off track,” explains BetterHelp. 

“From there, we can implement new ideas, new approaches, and new strategies.”

The aversion to failure and mistakes, often instilled from a young age, can prevent individuals from taking risks, experimenting, and learning from their experiences.

Keep failing. Fail better. 

7) Age determines capability and value  

Age clearly matters. But it’s far from everything in life and it has no bearing on your value. 

Many societies embrace harshly materialistic and reductionist views of life:

If you stop producing and working hard, you’re deadweight! If you’re too young then you’re not mature enough yet for an important job, a family or to achieve your dreams. 

The assumption that certain achievements must be accomplished (or deferred!) because of age can create unnecessary pressure and discourage lifelong learning and personal reinvention.

Your age is an aspect of who you are, but it’s far from all of who you are! 

8) Put the needs of others before your own

Being a helpful and empathetic person is wonderful. 

But it can go too far. 

When you consistently put the needs of others before your own, you will often wake up to find that your own life has passed you by. 

It’s not just career opportunities and relationships you didn’t have time or energy for, but also your own way of being overly nice to people and sacrificing your authenticity and real voice to make them comfortable and more likely to approve of you.

“One of the most haunting regrets of this nice guy persona is the ocean of unspoken words and missed opportunities,” recounts Charlie Mitchell. 

“Conversations I should have had but avoided. Emotions I should have expressed but suppressed.”

The idea that putting others’ needs ahead of your own is always virtuous can lead to burnout and neglect of self-care, preventing you from fully engaging in life’s opportunities.

9) Rest and play when you retire 

The belief that younger life is for work and older life is for rest can be very reductionist and harmful.

If you spend your most active years only working and your retirement years only resting, your life will be very bipolar and artificial. 

Instead, it’s crucial to establish work-life balance on an ongoing basis. 

The idea that work life and personal life are inherently conflicting and cannot be balanced can lead to neglect of personal well-being and relationships in pursuit of career goals.

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